Reconstruction of Courtyard Houses of Pingtian Village
- Wang Weijen Architecture
- Pingtian Village, Songyang County
- 1-5 Stories
- Pingtian Cloud Village Hotel, 云上平田
Hotel as Village
Pingtian is a typical mountain village of Songyang with houses array along the contour facing the valley. Surrounded by layers of distant mountains and adjacent terraces of vegetable garden and tea-field, fish-pond and bamboo wood, the village houses and their temple forms a self-sustained community of production and consumption integrated nature and ecology. Developed from the center courtyard house and its adjacent patios, Pingtian Cloud Village Hotel is composed of clusters of guestrooms, cafe, and workshops converted from original houses within the village fabric, shaping together a unique spatial experience of accommodation in an authentic village setting.
Walking up the steps through the village path, a sequence of patios and buildings designed by Wang Weijen Architecture along the main path forms the core experience of the Village Hotel: Courtyard House Restaurant and West-wing guestroom, Tea-Pavilion, Reception House with Agriculture Showroom and Guestrooms, leading to a Stage-Pavilion for the outdoor theatre plaza at the village top.
Courtyard House Restaurant
Based on the footprint of original house, the re-construction of the new Courtyard House Restaurant adopts and re-use the original rammed earth wall-enclosure, re-constructing the main structure with traditional timber frame and tiled roof. By opening up all partitions and lifting the privacy of rooms, the new courtyard house highlights the modular of Chinese timber-structural system through new experiences with open-flow of spaces. Walking in-between the continuous spaces defined by rhythms of post and beam, the changing angle of sunlight and temperature through the louver-panels framing the courtyard patio becomes the reference for time in spaces, amplifying and negotiating boundaries between architecture and landscape, extending our body into the piece of nature in the patio. By adding the stairway with corner rooms at the west-court, the design also creates a mini light-well garden and pond, incorporating additional rooms with traditional aesthetic sensitivity.
Tea-Pavilion and Patios
Adopting topography by extending the kitchen to the south and the service-wing to the east, the new courtyard house also provides podium-deck and patios for the community, becoming public spaces for the villagers. Anchoring at the southeast corner of the courtyard house between the podium and patio, the Tea-Pavilion rebuilt from a storage-shed strategically became the vista focus of village path. Looking down toward the valley-view beyond village houses, the open pavilion enjoys a mountain-view toward the front and behind through an angled skylight above. The installation of Tea-Pavilion as a spatial catalyst, successfully activates the upper plaza opposite of the Café, leading to the next reconstruction of the Reception Hall with showroom and Guestrooms.
Reception Hall and Guestroom
Having a gable façade facing the upper patio of the central plaza, the reconstruction of the Reception Hall and Guestroom adopt the footprint of original farmhouse by reusing its rammed earth wall-enclosure. By turning its linear light-well along the retaining wall as the stairway atrium, the design organizes sequence of guestrooms along the thick earthen wall facing mountain views. With variety of steel-framed deep windows and balcony projection arranged for different room functions, the solid façade with animated steel windows along the alleyway provides a new spirit to the traditional village fabric, while the other façade at the upper level parallel to the village path, expresses a contemporary translucent using light-weighted timber louver with window glass panels. The reception hall and showroom for village agriculture products at the lower level with unique characters using bamboo louver ceiling as well as wood and steel-plate shelf, not only become the center focus of the village hotel, but also the communal lounge of the village for variety of public events and workshops.
Tectonics with Narratives
Adopting steel purlin-frame with timber rafters and tiles, the architecture of the Pingtian courtyard house and pavilions explore the integration of modern aesthetics with tradition technique through the incorporation of contemporary building materials. By using steel and glass panels for corner opening in traditional construction of rammed earth wall, the design moderates vernacular syntax with modern function and sensitivity in the regional context. Through the opening of windows and framing of views toward vista, the façade design brings modern rhetoric into tradition, moderating environmental and experiential performances of window panels between the thickness of earth-wall: translucent and transparent, inward and outward, push and pull, angle and direction.
Village as Hotel
The remaking of village houses in Pingtian not only bring together the tectonic of rammed earth and timber with steels and glasses, but also the re-building up of a platform through consensus for designing and building process among villagers and owners, modern architects with traditional carpenters and masons. The construction not only becomes traces of engaging nature through building, but also regenerating a process of making village’s public spaces: the tradition of shaping shared narrative spaces by the community. The reconstruction explores architectural tectonics and typology as well as testing functional and site potentials: leisure and services, enclosure and open, stone and tile, soil and woods, contour and datum, mountains and water. Most importantly, the Village as Hotel was not built through one blue print of master plan, but step by step and one after another, identify catalysts and seeking opportunities to transform and evolve and transform. The shaping of village hotel is also a process of rebuilding the community with understanding of its economy and ecology, through the conservation of its architectural and social fabric shared by entrepreneurs and the local government, architects and carpenters, as well as visitors and villagers.